Saturday, September 30, 2023


‘I can’t stop crying’: Friends grief stricken over the killing of 19-year-old Bahamian in Florida

Best friend Sanae Knowles never thought she would witness the tragic and early death of 19-year-old Latrell Adderley, killed in a hit-and-run crash in Orlando Florida, early Sunday morning.

Adderley was standing with a group of people near the road around 3:43 a.m. when a 2005 Ford Excursion driven by Alexis Lima, ran off the roadway, hit a pole, a parked vehicle and Adderley.

The scene of the tragic hit-and-run crash

“Life has shown us its hurtful side by taking you away from us when we didn’t see it coming. It breaks my heart that you were taken so unexpectedly…I’m still crying,” Knowles said in a tribute to Adderley.

Latrell Adderley with bestfriend Sanae Knowles

Adderly died in the Advent Health Orlando Hospital.

But authorities were still looking for 20-year-old Lima and two other passengers who took off. Lima, the driver was eventually arrested and booked at Orlando County Jail and charged with driving without a license causing death and leaving the scene of a crash which involved injuries.

Knowles said she cherished his “unconditional love, smile and personality.”

Mary Star of the Sea Catholic Academy where Adderley graduated in 2022 remembered him as “bold, spirited, innovator, fun and a leader.”

“Latrell made a lasting impact on the lives of administration, teachers and students…his energetic spirit and smiling face will surely be missed,” a social media post read.

Dominic Russell said he is still in disbelief and would have met Adderley in his duties as pageant director. “This has my heart heavy right now…I really was hoping this was a dream.”

Photo credit: Cee-Jay Lowe

Friend Lee Ann met Adderley at work. They never lost touch even after he went to college. “This hurt my soul…Who am I going to talk to? We [were] birthday buddy twins.

Monika Strachan said he lit up her life, “He was such an amazing young man, full of energy and joy, never a dull moment.”

‘We need to keep looking’: Daughter’s search for missing US pilot proves fruitless

The daughter of an American pilot is not giving up hope after her father disappeared while flying to North Eleuthera, Bahamas from Florida nearly two weeks ago.

Though the Royal Bahamas Defense Force and US Coast Guards have called off the search, Nabilha Khan has launched a GoFundMe, attempting to raise $100,000 to continue a private search for Pervez Khan, a South Florida resident who took off from Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport on August 19, but has not been seen since.

US Coast Guards and the Royal Bahamas Defense Force searched 20 hours of 5,032 square miles to no avail, so the family is seeking to raise funds to find the missing pilot themselves.

As of Wednesday, the GoFundMe stood at $13,000.

“We are out again today searching by plane, boat, and on foot,” Khan said on Tuesday.

The area being searched by family and friends.

Khan believes her father’s aircraft Cessna 402 either crashed or may have ditched the plane.

“I’m not sure which.

“It is crucial that we keep searching,” Khan told Local 10 News.

“We need to keep looking in new areas.”

“My father has flown this flight thousands of times. He’s been flying to the Bahamas for decades.”

Khan was the only person aboard the plane and was last seen 17 miles west off the coast of Eleuthera.

Family said they were finally able to search a previously unsearched area with a helicopter hired from Boca Raton because there were no available helicopters in the country.

The family is asking everyone to be on the lookout for the any sightings or clues of the plane, as they continue their search for Khan.

US Missing Diver Is Presumed Dead in Bimini Waters, but His Sister Is Hopeful

The sister of a missing American free diver who went missing in Bimini waters said she will not give up finding her brother, even though the Royal Bahamas Defense Force and the US Coast Guard called off the search.

In hopes that he is still alive, in a message to him she said, “Ryan, we will never stop looking for you.”

Ryan Proulx is seen with his family onboard a vessel.

Nicole Proulx said Ryan went missing on Friday around 6 pm, while free diving in Bahamian waters near the Bimini Barge Wreck, approximately 1.5 miles west of Bimini Inlet, wearing a green UV hooded shirt, heather green athletic shorts, red dive fins, redfin keepers and green snorkels.

He was never found, but a blue pole, red fins, and green shorts were discovered in the surrounding waters on Sunday.

After the US Coast Guard and Royal Bahamas Defence Force suspended the search on Sunday, friends launched a GoFundMe, seeking $60,000 to find the 31-year-old former police officer. As of Monday, more than $30,000 was raised.

Ryan Proulx, standing to the left, receives an award when he served in East Hartford Police Department, in Connecticut.

“Any money raised will go towards helping fly the volunteer dive team in this effort to bring Ryan home in an honorable manner that he deserves… If Ryan is found prior to this rescue trip, the money will go directly to his family. Any money left after the team goes over will go to the family also,” friend Shelby Morin said.

She described Ryan as a “friend and just an amazing guy.”

Ryan who is from Connecticut, left Palm Beach County Marina, Florida for Bimini last Thursday with a crew including his wife, after free diving around a sunken boat, when he disappeared.

The U.S. Coast Guard deployed two helicopters and a search plane to assist the Royal Bahamas Defense Force in the search but came up empty. After aircraft crews searched over 673 square miles for Ryan, the Coast Guard suspended the search.

“We offer our deepest condolences to the Proulx family,” Lt. Cmdr. Matt Spado, Coast Guard liaison officer, said in a tweet. “The decision to suspend the active search efforts pending further development is one we never take likely.”

Steve Diffenbacher, a friend said Ryan was a U.S.C.G. licensed boat captain and diver and often ran boats from the Northeast down to South Florida for clients who wanted to transport their boats.

‘He Had a Big Heart’: Bahamian Girlfriend Grieves ‘Hero’ Boyfriend Killed in Walmart

The Bahamian girlfriend of a man killed in Walmart, Lauderdale Lakes, said his killing is forever etched in her memory. But she will remember him for his big heart.

“Having a big heart that he has, he went down a hero,” Makia Ford said of her boyfriend Thierry Bastien who was identified as Haitian-American.

Ford, who is from the Bahamas but lives in the US, said she and 41-year-old Bastien were alerted to cries of ‘help’ from a woman while the couple and their children shopped at Walmart, Lauderdale Lakes in Broward County, Florida.

Bastien ran to assist the woman involved in a dispute with another Walmart employee who was not on duty at the time.

“I told him, ‘Don’t go,’ but he said he’s just going to help,” Ford told Local 10 News.

As Ford looked on, 22-year-old Tirone Sterling shot Bastien, though she pleaded with him to save her boyfriend’s life who fathered two children, including an infant she held in her arms at the time of the incident.

Instead, an angry Sterling stood over Bastien and shot him six times— in the leg, stomach and chest.

Bastien died in the hospital.

“He was all about family, working, and taking care of his family. It’s not fair to the kids. It’s not fair to me,” Ford said.

“He (Sterling) just took that away from us.”

Bastien grew up in a close-knit family with Karlise Honore, his cousin in Brooklyn. She remembers him as “big-hearted” and “charming.” Later, he moved from New York to South Florida where he founded a label company, CZF Da Label.

“If you met him for two minutes, you would feel like you know him,” Honore said.

Though many debated Bastien’s choice to interrupt a fight, Honore said, “In this day and age, your good deed might cause a negative result and something that’s harmful. I think it’s hard for some people who are naturally good-natured and want to see people protected. It’s hard for them to stand back.”

Maxine Pierre who is a friend of the victim said Bastien always defended him against bullies when they were children. “As a Haitian immigrant, I’d get bullied all the time. Thierry Bastien would stand up for me whenever he was around. He’d even walk with me on his way home some days.”

Karl Abellard echoed his sentiments. “He stood up for many kids in the neighborhood.”

Sterling was arrested hours later at an apartment complex and was charged with murder.

Ford said Sterling’s arrest will do nothing to quash the horror she witnessed. She’s forever changed.

“It’s the sounds that playback in your head. It’s the whole scene that plays back in your head.”

‘He Lived Life to the Fullest’: Daughter Grieves US Tourist Killed in ATV Crash

The tourist killed when the all-terrain vehicle in which he was a passenger crashed and rolled over, was described as “a kind, caring and gentle soul.”

Wilber Jorge was visiting Nassau, Bahamas, from the USA, and died unexpectedly after he was ejected from the 2019 Can-AM Outlander Four Wheeler on Sunday. Authorities said he sustained serious injuries after Carol Garcia, also visiting from the US, lost control of the ATV.

“He lived his life to the fullest every single day…” his daughter, Keyshla Jorge said, describing him as “an amazing father” to her three siblings.

“He was loved dearly by all his family.”

Wilber Jorge is shown with his daughter Keyshla Jorge and other children, below.

Susy Mero, his partner, said she is still processing the events surrounding Jorge’s sudden death and expressed her profound love for him.

“I loved you (Jorge). I love you and I will always love you.”

Wilber Jorge with Susy Meso

Since the crash, Jorge’s remains are still in the Bahamas and his family is hoping to transport his body to Lakeworth, Florida with monies raised from GoFundMe.

“Anything helps…we want to bring him home to his loved ones,” Mero said.

The family is hoping to raise $50,000 to cover the funeral expenses and offer financial help for his children.

Meanwhile, Garcia is on $18,000 bail after a charge of vehicular manslaughter was levied against her. She stands accused of dangerously driving the ATV in a public space which caused the death of Jorge.

As the family plans a date for the funeral, Mero admonished others, “Please hug your loved ones tightly as you never know what can happen.”


Featured photo: Wilber Jorge is shown with partner Susy Meso


What to Know About Bahamian Woman Killed in Florida Roll Over Crash

A Bahamian woman was reportedly killed in a Florida car crash when the vehicle in which she was a passenger, flipped over a median and sat mangled next to Interstate-95, Northwest Miami-Dade.

The young woman identified as Tiaja Springer from Freeport, GrandBahama was travelling with a man who was driving the vehicle when their black Alfa Romeo sedan, heading south, lost control, meandered off the road, hitting a traffic box before it came to a stop.


Images show the car on its roof in the grass median.

Springer was killed in the 4 am rollover crash and the man was last listed in critical condition at Florida Aventura Hospital.

The tragic accident forced road closure as investigators scoured the scene to investigate the accident.

Friends and family took to social media to remember the Sunland Baptist graduate, killed in the tragedy. Many described her as “so full of life.”



It is not known what led to the vehicle losing control.

Everything to Know About the Strangulation of a Pregnant Bahamian Woman in Orlando

On Thursday, Orange County Police found the body of 29-year-old Joanna Gomez-Simo, who is a Bahamian living in Orlando, Florida.

The police were called to the home for a welfare check when family members reported that they were unable to reach her. Her boyfriend Pierre Floriant, 41, allowed authorities inside the Pointe Vista Apartments where they found the pregnant woman strangled to death in her bedroom where she lived with her four children.

Police have since arrested Floriant and charged him with murder.

What happened the day Joanna Gomez-Simo was found dead

It is not known when she was strangled to death but her phone went unanswered for days. She was found with a blanket covering her body as Floriant stayed in the home.

After the murder, he dropped off their 6-month-old child for someone to keep for the night then returned to the apartment. And when the police arrived to investigate the home after a welfare complaint was made, he opened the door to permit them inside where they found the woman, who was 20 weeks pregnant, already dead.

Floriant said he believed Gomez-Simo was cheating on him and he did not want the baby.

Pierre Floriant abused Joanna Gomez-Simo before her death

Floriant has a history of domestic abuse stemming from December of last year when he punched Gomez-Simo in the stomach and neck to abort the baby. Because she refused he said, “he would perform the abortion himself,” she reported to the police before her death.

She had reached out to the police for help in times past when she wished to pursue criminal charges against Floriant. She was recently named as a victim in a Domestic Violence Aggravated Battery case involving Floriant as the defendant.

But Gomez-Simo moved out of state and was no longer in fear for her life so she dropped the charges against him.

The prosecution office said despite her desire to drop the case, it continued to investigate the matter but stated there was insufficient evidence to move forward with criminal charges and prove the case “beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Gomez-Simo admitted to police that there were two other cases that were unreported where Floriant abused her.

What are the charges?

Floriant confessed to the killing and is charged with 1st-degree murder and the killing of an unborn child.

Abaco and GB Prepare for Another Hit as Nicole Churns to a Hurricane and is Enroute to the Bahamas

Tropical Storm Nicole is evolving and is churning towards the northern Bahamas before it heads to Florida.

A hurricane warning is in effect for Abaco, Berry Islands, Bimini and Grand Bahama with a tropical storm warning for Andros Island, New Providence and Eleuthera.

Eliane Hall, who works at a hotel in Great Abaco island, told CNBC that islanders were queuing at gas stations and grocery stores preparing for the storm’s arrival.

“We just boarded it up,” she said of the hotel.

Abaco and Grand Bahama were devastated by Hurricane Dorian in 2019 when category 5 winds struck the islands. Experts worry that communities in these areas will receive a direct hit from Nicole.

Capt. Stephen Russell, emergency management authority director said, “We don’t have time to beg and plead for persons to move.”

Meteorologists said the storm has a “very large cyclonic envelope.”

The storm’s track shifted slightly north overnight, but it’s path is uncertain as it approaches Florida, where it is expected to make landfall as a Category 1 hurricane late Wednesday or early Thursday.

Tropical storm conditions are expected in the Bahamas by Tuesday tonight or early Wednesday.

Airports and seaports will close as the storm nears and not reopen until Thursday, and they urged people in shantytowns to seek secure shelter.

Hurricane warnings were issued for a portion of Florida’s Atlantic Coast, from Boca Raton to north of Daytona Beach. Tropical storm warnings are in place for other parts of the Florida coast, all the way to Altamaha Sound, Georgia. The warning area also stretches inland, covering Florida’s Lake Okeechobee, with tropical storm watches in effect on the state’s Gulf Coast — from Bonita Beach in southwest Florida to the Ochlockonee River in the Panhandle.


In Pictures: Hurricane Ian Rips Florida, Uproots Homes. Hundreds May Be Dead

Floridians along the west coast woke up on Thursday morning to devastation as Hurricane Ian moves over the state.The ferocious storm dumped rain and brought wind gusts that pushed over homes, uprooted trees, and may have killed hundreds of people.Two million people are without power and many are without water.Rescue workers are searching for people trapped in their homes.

Florida Governor Ron Desantis described it as historic. “We’ve never seen a flood event like this,” he said. “It is one of the top five hurricanes to ever hit the Florida peninsula.”

President Biden has since declared it a disaster, approving disaster funding to get the state to a sense of normalcy. He added that though not official, many people are feared dead. “This could be the deadliest storm in Florida history. The numbers we have are still unclear, but we’re hearing early reports of what may be a substantial loss of life.”

Ian made landfall on Wednesday as a category 4 hurricane. It has since weakened to a tropical storm as it barrels up north but is expected to strengthen as it moves over the Atlantic Ocean later on Thursday.

Orlando has since declared a flash flood emergency.


Photo credit: Getty, ABC News

In Pictures: Hurricane Ian Lashes Florida with Powerful Wind Gusts and Strong Surge

Hurricane Ian made landfall near Fort Myers on Wednesday, just after 3 p.m. Meteorologists say it arrived as a Category 4 storm, with maximum sustained winds near 150 mph.

They warned that storm surge could reach up to 18 feet in coastal areas in Florida.

Hurricane Ian picked up speed, threatening to upgrade to a category 5 storm.

More than 2.5 million people in Florida were under an evacuation order. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis warned people who did not evacuate to stay inside, calling Ian “the big one.”

“This is a really, really significant storm. It will be one of the storms people always remember.”

Nearly 645,000 customers are without power. The state’s largest electricity provider is bracing for damage to its utility.

Hurricane effects are expected to be felt in the Bahama islands which are located near Florida–Grand Bahama, Abaco, Bimini and Berry Islands where schools are closed.